Effect of fire history and vegetation structure on herpetofauna in a South African grassland Gavin P.R. Masterson 1 , Bryan Maritz, Graham J. Alexander School of Animal, Plant and Environmental Sciences, University of the Witwatersrand, Private Bag 3, WITS, 2050, Gauteng, South Africa 1 Corresponding author; e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org Abstract. Fire is a frequent feature of African grasslands and is commonly used in the management of conservation areas. We studied the herpetofaunal richness and composition of 10 sites to determine the effects of a 30-year fire management regime on the herpetofaunal assemblage in a reserve in South Africa. We trapped amphibians and reptiles during March and April 2004 at 10 sites with different fire histories. Sites of different post-fire ages were compared for differences in their species richness. We also measured the vegetation cover and vegetation height i.e. the vegetation structure at each of the sites surveyed. We found no significant effects of fire history on the species richness or composition of each site. Species composition at each site was better explained by post-fire age than by vegetation structure. There was a tight correlation between the vegetation cover of a site and its species richness, as well as a
Applied Herpetology – Brill
Published: Jan 1, 2008
Keywords: MANAGEMENT PRACTICE; SPECIES COMPOSITION; FIRE; HERPETOFAUNA; VEGETATION STRUCTURE; SPECIES RICHNESS
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